tralac Daily News
All actors in the plastics value chain have a role to play in dealing with the plastic pollution challenge, and while there are various policies and actions in place, independent conservation organisation the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) says little can be achieved without deep collaboration, accountability and transparency. “Critical decisions need to be made in the short term, including the alignment towards a common vision, the fast-tracking of a mandatory extended producer responsibility scheme (underpinned by time-bound national targets), and supporting a new global treaty to address plastic pollution,” the organisation has said at the launch of its ‘South African Plastics Facts & Futures Report‘ on November 4.
Kenya, UK agree terms of post-Brexit trade pact (Business Daily)
Kenya has agreed terms for a post-Brexit trade deal with the United Kingdom (UK), paving the way for the signing of a long-term treaty that will shield EAC exports from tariffs. The two countries announced Tuesday they have reached an “agreement in principle” on continuation of duty- and quota-free access of Kenyan exports such as cut flowers and tea after the UK formally exits the 27-member European Union (EU) at end of the year. “We have agreed on a comprehensive package of benefits that will ensure a secure, long-term and predictable market access for exports originating from the EAC Custom Union,” Ms Maina told reporters after the meeting that initialled the trade pact. “Our key exports such as flowers and fresh produce will benefit from enhanced privileges for agricultural goods that confers originating status to EAC exports, even if they pass through EU’s 27 countries.”
The earnest attempt by the Government of Kenya to secure a trade deal with the United Kingdom (UK) prior to the expiry of its transitional relationship with the European Union on 31 December 2020 has come to a successful close with a few days on the clock. The Governments of Kenya and the UK signed the long-sought Kenya – UK trade agreement on November 3, preventing the impending cessation of the trade in goods and services between the two nations guaranteed by EU – EAC Economic Partnership Agreement.
Specifically, under the agreement, certain products from Kenya will have duty free access to the UK market including flowers, tea, coffee and an assortment of vegetables. Conversely, motor vehicle, pharmaceutical and paper imports from the UK would benefit from duty free access to the Kenyan market. Both trade benefits would be available from the year 2021 once the UK has completed its protracted exit from the European Union, with or without a deal, on December 31, 2020.
KRA eyes Ksh.5 billion from the digital economy by June next year (Citizentv.co.ke)
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has set its sights on raising Ksh.5 billion from the digital economy in six months to June 2021. This ahead of the roll out of the digital services tax on January 1 which is levied on online businesses at the rate of 1.5 per cent of the gross transaction value. KRA has been working alongside the ICT Ministry on a businesses’ sensitization framework ahead of the roll out of the new tax. “Already, KRA has been putting a lot of information out there. We have already seen many people come into the tax base. Previously, people opted to hideaway thinking they were better off,” stated ICT Cabinet Secretary Joe Mucheru. The Digital Services Tax (DST) is a tax payable on income derived or accrued in Kenya from services offered through a digital market place
The Mitumba Association of Kenya announced that from September 31, it would no longer import second-hand underwear, bras and socks into the country. According to the association, mitumba dealers have also agreed that they will be wearing clothes that are made in Rivatex to show solidarity with the government and wear clothes branded as ‘buy Kenya and build Kenya.’ The group said it would comply with the set Covid-19 protocols on the importation of second-hand clothes in line with the president’s directive when he lifted the ban on the importation of mitumba. “Corona has chased our customers because of fear, and now the government has stopped the importation, how will we survive?” he laments.
According to the Kenya Flower Council, thousands of farm workers are on the verge of losing their jobs due to closure on sale of ‘non-essential’ items by supermarkets and florists during the lockdown in France. The flower council has asked the Kenyan government to urgently engage with the French government to lift the restrictions in order to safeguard thousands of jobs that might be lost. The council said that the industry was adversely affected by the first lockdown in Europe between March and August, which saw demand for flowers dropped. “Millions of stems were destroyed at the farm which resulted in a huge loss for the growers. Consequently, farms reduced salaries and manpower, used minimum spray and fertigation, and put some plants and varieties on rest for weeks till the demand picked up,” the council said.
Informal trade surges at small unmonitored border posts (The Namibian)
Trade in merchandise valued below N$1 000 is gaining momentum at Namibia’s ungazetted borders, recording N$19,9 million in 2019 compared to N$15,3 million in 2016. Interestingly, informal trading has also achieved a trade surplus of N$13,4 million, as the formal trade struggles with deficit, as the country exports more in small values but large volumes. This is according to the Namibia Statistics Agency’s (NSA) fourth (from 2014) Informal Cross Border Trade Survey (ICBTS) conducted last year. According to the informal trade statistics, over 51% of exports were destined for Angola, making that country Namibia’s largest export market in 2019, amounting to N$8,5m. Zambia maintained her second position on the export list, absorbing 48,1% of Namibia’s total informal exports, up from its 2016 level of 24,6%.
Major gains recorded in investment, trade (Dailynews)
Formulation of good policies has greatly contributed to gains recorded in the fields of investment and trade in the country. As the Fifth Phase Government starts its final second five-year term today, it has much to count on the gains recorded in past five years. Dr Magufuli, also CCM Chairman, spearheaded the reform of some laws to curb bureaucratic delays in issuing investment permits, the scrapping of some charges, duties and taxes in various key sectors of the economy such as agriculture, fisheries and livestock. Such government actions have increased Tanzania’s foreign trade from 11.5tri/- in 2014/20 15 to 16.6tri/- in 2018/2019. A vivid example of feats in the foreign trade is that since 2015 to 2018 Tanzania had positive proportion of goods sales by an average of 288.04 million US$. As for investment projects, the Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has registered 1,307 new projects worth 14.607bn US$ (30 tri/-) and when completed will create 183,50 3 jobs.
Zimra unveils pre-clearance system (The Herald)
With effect from 1 November 2020, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) introduced a pre-clearance system on all vehicles goods imported by road. Under the latest customs arrangement, import duty procedures are completed before the traveller or the imported goods arrive at a selected port of entry. Upon arrival, the goods are only checked for conformity and this reduces the time spent by importers while completing customs processes at the ports of entry . This is different from a system where the processing of customs documents was done by a traveller or importer upon reaching the respective port of entry.
Somaliland Port of Berbera Set to Challenge Djibouti’s Monopoly (East African Business Week)
Somaliland Port of Berbera is expected to challenge the monopoly enjoyed by Djibouti once complete in January 2021 and offer an alternative for maritime and military interests in the Horn of Africa. DP World has invested in Berbera port an initial $120 million in financing the first phase (a 400-meter container terminal) which, after it becomes operational, will compete with Djibouti. DP World says the Berbera Port will stand out as the trading and transportation hub for the Horn of Africa. This may turn the port into a new logistical gateway to East Africa and boost economic development in the self-declared republic.
82.9m Nigerians currently living below poverty line – ActionAid (Blueprint Newspapers Limited)
The Country Director of ActionAid Nigeria, Ene Obi has estimated that 82.9 million Nigerians are currently living below the poverty line, in a largely informal economy such as Nigeria. Obi further said in Nigeria, small and medium scale business are mainly driven by young people and women, expectedly government incentives, stimulus and credit facilities must target these biggest demography of people, in order to get the economy back on track at the earliest possible time and tackle the increasing poverty, unemployment and inequality. At a two-day National Summit on Tax and Development in Abuja on Wednesday, Ene observed that in Nigeria and in some other African states, the tax to GDP ratio remains low.
How Madagascar is rebooting its mining sector (Miningreview.com)
The Malagasy government’s ambitions to reform mining legislation has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, following a failed attempt to introduce a new mining code in November 2019. The drive for reform stems from widespread perceptions nationally that mining projects have failed to deliver expected outcomes or benefits, particularly in terms of government revenues and local content contributions.
Burundi to reopen airport (The East African)
The Burundi government Tuesday announced it would reopen Melchior Ndadaye International Airport on November 8. Burundi closed its airspace in March this year following the outbreak of the coronavirus worldwide. A statement read on Tuesday by government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye stated that strict measures will be put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat told delegates at the annual competition law, economics & policy conference on Wednesday that the Secretariat was at advances stages of concluding phase one of the agreement which deals with the trading of goods and services. While understandably not all countries will be ready to trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) terms from day one, Mene said the Secretariat was “determined” to get this off the ground from the first day of the year and those countries who lag will hopefully staring start moving together with the rest soon after that.
“We have now resumed our work. We are now negotiating virtually. We are meeting in person where we can, to ensure that we are ready to commerce trading under the AfTCA preferences from the 1st of January 2021,” said Mene. The told the conference that the AfCFTA was possibly the last chance for Africa to move forward with an integrated market in in the continent and overcome “smallness” of its individual economies as well as reliance on export of commodities.
The Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament says the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) holds the promise of prosperity for all Africans amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Sidie Mohammed Tunis said yesterday during the opening ceremony of two meetings scheduled with a week-long activities of the Parliament in Cotonou Benin Republic. He said that notwithstanding the benefits of free trade, there are visible threats which stall progress and create stumbling blocks to investments that in turn affect commerce and employment in the region, the ECOWAS Parliament “Beyond its impact on human health, the pandemic has disrupted an interconnected world economy and border closure have reduced economic activities with following predictions of recession across the continent,” Speaker Tunis said.
Africa CEO Forum, Okan publish report on transforming ports (Logistics Update Africa)
For the second year in a row, the AFRICA CEO FORUM and the strategy consulting and financial advisory firm Okan published a report on the African logistics sector. This year’s edition, entitled “Africa’s ports: fast-tracking transformation”, gives an overview of the sector’s strengths and weaknesses while providing a list of six recommendations that have the power to turn Africa’s hubs into global giants. The Covid-19 crisis has led to significant upheaval in the transport and logistics sectors. One of the most major impacts is no doubt the decline in trade flows, taking the form of a 30 to 40 percent decrease in traffic for certain African ports. These ill winds come on the back of two decades of unprecedented growth in investment and competitiveness in the continent’s port sector. Totalling $1.2 billion between 1990 and 2004, private investment in Africa’s port sector grew by a factor of 3, reaching $15.2 billion between 2005 and the first half of 2019.
Modernizing Kenya’s ports and decongesting the Northern transport corridor will be a game changer in establishing the country as the regional gateway for trade. Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS) Ukur Yatani speaking at the treasury Tuesday, while signing financing agreements with Trademark East Africa (TMEA) said that reducing the time it takes to enter and exit our borders will make us the transit partner of choice for our regional neighbours. “The four grant agreements worth Sh1.31 billion signed will facilitate trade and unlock the economic growth of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) given that this investment is in critical infrastructure,” said Yatani.
The COVID-19 crisis has heightened the focus on climate change and financial instruments that promote sustainable economic development, Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala says in the latest episode of the ClimateBiz podcast series hosted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In a discussion focused on “Financing the green rebuild”, Tshabalala notes that pressure is building on financial institutions, asset managers and corporates to give more attention to environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in their day-to-day operations. Against this backdrop, the growth of the sustainable finance market’s growth is being supported by the establishment of ESG linked funds, Sustainable Indices, and by an evolving regulatory environment.
The SACU region is implementing a Regional Customs Modernisation Programme which is our flagship programme. This Programme aims to enhance operational efficiencies for the cross-border movement of goods, secure borders and eliminate entry of sub-standard and illicit goods, ensure seamless movement and facilitation of trade as well as to promote traders’ compliance with the national laws and policies regarding importation and exportation of goods. The SACU region is now transitioning form the Preferred Trader Programme to Authorised Economic Operator Compliance Programme. The transition seeks to augment and amplify the work done so far and to elevate the Preferred Trader programme to a Global Authorised Economic Operator Compliance Programmes.
The export similarities between Member States is a major contributor to the low intra COMESA and COMESA – rest of Africa trade. According to findings presented at the recent COMESA Annual Research Forum, the current export structure depicts a region that produces more or less similar products in terms of their export sophistication. The top five exports to Africa include tobacco and tobacco substitutes, ores, slag and ash, essential oils and resinoids, sugars and sugar confectionery. Mineral fuels and related products are among COMESA’s top exports to the rest of the world. In a research paper titled “Estimating COMESA’S trade potential in Africa: optimizing export opportunities in the AfCFTA,” the Researcher Mr. Manaseh Oiro, observed that similar products are being exported to the rest of the world in larger quantities because they are used as inputs for industrialized countries.
New partnership to expand e-logistics technology solutions across Africa (Marketing and Media South Africa)
Provider of integrated market access and logistics solutions, Imperial has announced an investment in, and partnership with Lori Systems to expand its e-logistics technology solutions across Africa. This strategic partnership is the first of its kind at this scale and scope on the African continent. “We believe that Lori solves a real problem when it comes to matching volatile demand and reliable supply in Africa’s highly fragmented road freight industry. As a business that is focused on efficient and innovative logistics and market access solutions, this is a crucial business investment for Imperial and the continent. “Investing in Lori Systems will enable the creation of further business opportunities in Africa and provide efficiency for Imperial’s clients and transport operators with whom we collaborate,” noted Mohammed Akoojee, Group CEO, Imperial.
UK says US ties will go ‘from strength to strength’ whoever wins (Eyewitness News)
Britain on Wednesday insisted its close partnership with the United States was in safe hands whoever comes out on top of the tumultuous presidential election, while noting disagreement over the Paris climate pact. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a populist ally of President Donald Trump, refused to be drawn in parliament when grilled about the Republican’s premature claim of victory and his intention to ask the Supreme Court to halt the vote counting. But Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I’m not worried about the relationship. “The contours of the opportunities and the risks always shift a little bit, but that needs to be set against the context of this bedrock and this wider set of interests which are so strong,” he told Sky News.
UK guidance for retailers to prepare for end of transition (Fibre2Fashion)
The UK department for business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) recently released information and guidance for the retail sector to prepare for the end of the transition period of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union (EU). The period ends on December 31. For businesses and organisations in the retail sector, there will be new rules from January 1. The process of importing and exporting goods between the United Kingdom and the EU will change and the former will apply a UK-specific tariff to imported goods. This UK Global Tariff (UKGT) will replace the EU’s Common External Tariff, which applies until December 31.
How China and the US Threaten the World Trading System (The Diplomat)
As trade remade China, in the process China also remade world trade. As China became more integrated into the global economic system, its use of coercive actions to serve its strategic interests also increased. Gaining membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 facilitated its emergence as the center of a global production network, receiving parts and components mainly from the Northeast Asian economies of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – totaling 40 percent of overall Chinese imports at that time – and processing for re-export to the United States and Europe. As China became the assembly plant for the world, it boosted East Asia’s economic prominence. But China was also seen as aggravating global macro imbalances and sowing the seeds for heightened tensions with the West.
US exit from Paris deal a blow – but climate action rolls on (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
As the United States officially withdrew from the 2015 Paris Agreement on Wednesday, officials, analysts and campaigners said the departure dealt a blow to global climate diplomacy and the battle to curb rising planet-heating emissions. But, they noted, many American cities, states and companies continue to lead a push to meet U.S. commitments under the Paris accord, aimed at heading off the worst impacts of wild weather and rising seas by reining in temperature rise. Here are some views from climate experts on the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark Paris deal, a key policy promise by President Donald Trump, who has rejected mainstream science on climate change and promoted fossil fuel use:
At a meeting of the Committee on Trade and Development dedicated to small economies on 2 November, WTO members and international organizations highlighted the challenges faced by small economies in attracting foreign investment – particularly amid the COVID-19 crisis – and discussed ways to facilitate this investment. Three members of the WTO’s Small, Vulnerable Economies (SVE) Group – El Salvador, Guatemala and Saint Lucia – presented initiatives they have taken to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to expand their trading capacity and support economic diversification.